Sunday 21 August 2022

Tea and scones and the Brontës

We are not sure whether the Brontë sisters ever had scones themselves, but on Saturday 20 August we organized a cream tea and children’s workshop at the Brussels library Muntpunt. We were inspired by the make your own tiny book workshop that the Brontë Parsonage offers.

So just like the tiny books that Charlotte, Emily and Anne made from scraps of paper in which they wrote down their original and imaginary tales, we also made tiny books on a sunny Saturday with a bunch of kids that showed up. They cut and pasted and stapled and when their tiny books were finished some of the kids immediately started to write down their secrets so that their parents wouldn’t be able to read. We also had the “Pillar Portrait” of the three Brontë sisters as a colouring sheet for the younger children. 

Next to the “arts and craft” table we had our table for the cream tea (tea and scones with jam and cream). Some BBG members had channeled their baking talents and brought homemade scones to savour with a cup of tea for the kids and their parents. The last table displayed the Brontë themed collection of the Muntpunt library: books written by the Brontës in different languages, dvds, audiobooks, children’s picture books, graphic novels, poetry, biographies and of course Helen MacEwan’s books that focus on Charlotte and Emily’s time in Brussels. 

So many friendly people stopped by to have a scone or browse through the books. One father of a girl who made a tiny book even wrote a lovely tweet to thank us. He’s a big fan of French literature and knew about Baudelaire visiting Brussels but not about the Brontës. He had read Wuthering Heights in the past, and of course we convinced him to read Villette next. On twitter he wrote: 

“Today I learned that E and C Brontë spent two short but formative years in Brussels, hoping to improve their French. I also learnt that they left a devoted and child-friendly following. Thanks at the BBG for putting up with me and my princess (and for the scones!).” 

How lovely is that? We for one, quite like the title of being a devoted and child-friendly following of the Brontë sisters. We might organize more of these events in the future because we had a good time and managed to reach out to kids and their parents who now know a bit more about the Brontës and their time in our city.

Pauline Ghyselen

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